8.0078 Rs: More on Text Databases and Note-Taking (2/56)

Thu, 23 Jun 1994 23:23:59 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0078. Thursday, 23 Jun 1994.

(1) Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 20:16:30 -0600 (12 lines)
From: mlbizer@mail.utexas.edu (Marc Bizer)
Subject: Text Databases

(2) Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 22:28:33 -0400 (EDT) (44 lines)
From: mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca (W. McCarty)
Subject: note-taking

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 20:16:30 -0600
From: mlbizer@mail.utexas.edu (Marc Bizer)
Subject: Text Databases

Hello everyone,
Has anyone thought of Claris FileMaker Pro for note-taking? I know
of at least one person who uses it for this purpose. I believe that it is
available in both Mac and Windows versions.
Yours truly,
Marc Bizer

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------62----
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 22:28:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca (W. McCarty)
Subject: note-taking

As noted in Humanist 8.75, I have sniffed out the intelligence of
EndNote Plus and turned it to good advantage in taking notes on large
and complex projects. The important point to be made, I think, is that
with a suitable bib manager, and some clever application of a
wordprocessor, one can produce a fairly decent note-taking and
displaying system. By a "suitable bib manager" I mean one that will
allow you to define the kind of entity you are recording (i.e., a
note) and the formats in which you want it delivered. Of course the
bib manager has to be able to represent properly the language in which
you are working. The input and output formats depend on what the user
finds most convenient. What I do is to enter for each note a headword,
a summary of what is said, then an exact transcription, followed by a brief
reference to the work; the usual output format I use gives the summary
and hides the exact quotation in a footnote. Thus I can survey a
screen-full of notes in one window of my wordprocessor while I keep
the essay in progress in the other window; if I want to see the exact
words, I open a footnote window.

The exact transcriptions are practical for me to record because I scan
them in, then cut the interpreted text from the OCR software into the
bib manager.

All this may sound hopelessly complicated, but when the subject under
investigation is complex and the amount of material large, then the
advantages arising from the resulting database more than justify the
effort. In other words, I use the above proceedure selectively.

One part of the procedure I have never been able to automate is the
classification of notes into categories. For that, I have found,
nothing beats Sir James Murray's sorting of paper slips into piles. I
sit on the floor of my study and "play solitaire", as Roberto Busa
once called it.

Willard McCarty / Centre for Computing in the Humanities
                  University of Toronto / mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca